Agriculture World

Washington Apple Industry Worried after India Hikes Duties on Fruit

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The export-dependent Washington’s apple industry is upset after India increased duties on the fruit, saying that it is difficult to sell products to other markets when ‘you lose a reliable & established market’.

It must be noted that India has announced a hike in customs duties on around 28 US products that includes walnut, almond, pulses and apple in response to higher tariff imposed by US on Indian products such as steel & aluminum.

According to Yakima Herald, India had imported over 7.8 million 40-pound boxes of the fine quality 2017 Washington state apple crop as of mid-June 2018.

It said, India would eventually pass Canada as Washington's No. 2 export market, reaching 8 million boxes by the end of the current season. At present, Mexico is the No. 1 export market.

India, however, had imported far fewer boxes of the 2018 crop. As of 15th June, Washington had shipped around 2.6 million boxes to the country.

It is likely to slow down even more with India slapping a 20% retaliatory tariff on apples, bringing the total duty to 70%, the report said. Washington state generally exports about 30% of its apple crop, it added.

Mark Powers, President, Northwest Horticultural Council that represents the area's tree fruit industry in public policy issues, few days back discussed many key issues with the Trump government in Washington DC - including the India-US trade dispute.

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He said, "Honestly, we did not hear any rays of optimism on that front".

President Trump will be meeting Indian PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan next week.

He said China, which has a huge population, might have been another destination, if it was involved in a trade war with the US. Powers said if the industry is not able to search alternate export markets then those apples could end up in the domestic market & depress prices for all farmers.

He added, "When you lose a trustworthy and an established market, it's difficult to force that product to other markets".

The Washington state apple industry started shipping to India in the year 1999. But still, India maintained a high tariff price - 50% - for every World Trade Organization member that ships apples to the nation.

The tariff on US apples will now give an opportunity for other apple-producing nations, including Chile and New Zealand, the report said. The record 2017 Washington apple crop consignment to India happened after New Delhi discontinued importing apples from China, told Tori Lynn Adams, spokeswoman for the Washington Apple Commission.



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